Every year, more than 4 billion fans gather to watch the World Cup by either going to the event itself, meeting friends at venues that air the competition, or staying at home and watching the game on television.

There is no doubt that football, the world’s most popular sport, is a global and cultural phenomenon. The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil reached 3.2 billion viewers, with one billion viewers tuning in for the final match. And that’s not even including the countless people that head into town to watch the game with friends. 

It’s the perfect occasion for any brand to celebrate and take part in global culture, with the potential to reach an immense crowd that’s incredibly diverse. Pop-up stores are especially effective for a global event like this and brands have two main options:

  • Direct approach: Embracing World Cup fever
  • Indirect approach:  Benefitting from busier streets

Embracing World Cup fever

All over the world, businesses and brands attach their names to the World Cup in clever and creative ways. Sports and beverage brands have obvious plays around endorsements, product packaging and other types of promotions. But opportunities extend far beyond a themed T-shirt or canned beverage, with chances for all other brands to boost their bottom line and cash in on the global event. With a strategically located pop-up store and creative concept, brands can buy into the action and offer something exclusive with reduced risk, to a global and diverse audience.

For the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, London wine brand Jar played into the growing interest in South American culture with a wine tasting event centered on produce from that region. Held in a chic former industrial unit in east London, Jar took guests on a voyage into the passionate heart of Argentina with a chance to soak up the culture by immersing them in music, food and a selection of 120 wines. The experience was completed with a creative concept for the pop-up event that evoked the glamour of 1940s Buenos Aires featuring street art, a barbecue and wine master classes exploring the role all the senses play on the perceptions of taste.

Make-up brand Benefit Cosmetics took a more direct approach related to the football competition, and set up a pop-up pub aimed at celebrating the global event with a preview launch party hosted by sports presenter Kirsty Gallagher. The pub, called Gabbi’s Head located in Covent Garden, featured screenings of all major games from the World Cup, alongside comedy shows, Benefit makeovers and food and drinks. The cosmetic brand played into a clever observation that a lot of women thoroughly enjoy the World Cup as well, and with their branded pub they created a place for women to come together and celebrate football.

Benefit from busier streets

If it’s not realistic to hold an event that explicitly makes a connection to the World Cup, there is still another reason to get your brand out there: the streets are packed. While many people watch the game at home, there are also vast crowds that move into the inner city to watch the game with friends in bars or other types of public venues that air the next match. This presents a great opportunity to turn team supporters into your own brand supporters.

Holding a pop-up store in a strategically located place allows brands to simply tag along with the increase in foot traffic without having to connect the event to the World Cup. Find out where your type of audience will go to watch the game, and get your brand out there. Success comes down to standard golden rules for pop-up stores that attract crowds and create buzz: delivering a limited-time only experience that is memorable, plays into various senses and puts the customer at the center of the story.

For non-sports brands, the play might be less straightforward, but the pay-off is well worth the efforts. And it’s not too late to join in on the event and take home the gold.

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